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Two Historic Landmarks Featured on Stamps


WASHINGTON, DC —The U.S. Postal Service today announced the 2008 Express Mail and Priority Mail stamps featuring Hoover Dam and Mount Rushmore. The stamps will go on sale June 12.

The 2008 Express Mail stamp features Hoover Dam. Named for former President Herbert C. Hoover in 1931, Hoover Dam is a civil engineering wonder and national historic landmark located on the Arizona-Nevada border about 30 miles southeast of Las Vegas.

Measuring 726.4 feet from its foundation rock in a Colorado River canyon to the roadway at its crest, Hoover Dam is the nation’s tallest concrete dam. It was the tallest dam ever built when completed in the mid-1930s.

Hoover Dam’s power plant uses water from Lake Mead — the huge reservoir it created — to spin its turbines; for a time, this plant was the largest hydroelectric facility in the world. It continues to play a vital role in flood control; in water storage for irrigation and municipal and industrial use; and in helping to meet the power needs of the Southwest.

The painting on the stamp is by Dan Cosgrove of Chicago, IL. The view is looking upstream with Nevada on the left and Arizona on the right. At the base of the dam is the power plant. In the foreground, water flows from outlet works in the canyon walls. Behind the dam is Lake Mead, the huge reservoir created when Hoover Dam was completed. The artist also included the lake’s so-called “bathtub ring” — a whitish rim of mineral deposits left by higher levels of water.

The 2008 Priority Mail stamp features an illustration of Mount Rushmore National Memorial, which is located in the Black Hills of South Dakota near the town of Keystone. Carved into Mount Rushmore itself, the monument consists of large-scale sculptures of the faces of four American presidents: George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, and Theodore Roosevelt. According to a 1929 budget document, the monument was intended “to commemorate the founding, expansion, preservation, and unification of the United States.”

The idea for a monumental sculpture in the Black Hills was first conceived during the 1920s by Doane Robinson, secretary of the South Dakota State Historical Society and superintendent of the State Department of History. Hoping to create an attraction that would bring visitors to South Dakota from all across the country, Robinson contacted sculptor John Gutzon de la Mothe Borglum. In 1925, during his second trip to the state, Borglum selected Mount Rushmore, a granite mountain named for a New York attorney who had visited the Black Hills in 1885.

Work on the memorial officially began on August 10, 1927, when President Calvin Coolidge was present for the first ceremonial drilling; actual carving began nearly two months later.

Between 1927 and 1941, approximately 400 workers helped to create the monument. The four sculptural portraits were dedicated separately: George Washington in 1930; Abraham Lincoln in 1937; Thomas Jefferson in 1939; and Theodore Roosevelt in 1939. Each face measures approximately 60 feet from the chin to the top of the head.

Mount Rushmore was officially completed on Oct. 31, 1941. Because Gutzon Borglum had died earlier that year, final drilling was overseen by his son, Lincoln Borglum.

The Priority Mail stamp features an original drawing of Mount Rushmore by Dan Cosgrove.

The Express Mail and Priority Mail stamps will be available for purchase in Post Offices, on and by calling 800-STAMP-24 on June 12.


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